admin

Posts by: admin

THE 2013 BUDGET and SOCIAL EXPENDITURE – Some REFLECTIONS

Fr Kevin J. Barr As usual there was a mixture of positives and negatives in the 2013 Budget. The business community, of course, were overjoyed with the continuation of incentives to investors and there was great hype in the media….

The 1997 Constitution has wide support

Police presence at FLP consultation meeting The Fiji Labour Party held its second constitutional meeting in Ba last Saturday (June 16). It was attended by 40 participants from Ba, Tavua and Ra. Permit for the meeting was approved by the…

Amended Public Order Decree 2012 shocking

The PER has been replaced by an amended Public Order Decree 2012 which is shocking and more repressive and draconian than the Emergency Regulations just lifted. It is clearly a negative development which is hardly likely to provide the open…

Cautious welcome to lifting of PER

The Fiji Labour Party cautiously welcomes the decision to lift the PER later this week to allow for political consultations on the new constitution. As an obnoxious and repressive set of measures, the Public Emergency Regulations should never have happened….

THE 2013 BUDGET and SOCIAL EXPENDITURE – Some REFLECTIONS

Fr Kevin J. Barr As usual there was a mixture of positives and negatives in the 2013 Budget. The business community, of course, were overjoyed with the continuation of incentives to investors and there was great hype in the media….

Budget 2012

The 2012 Budget will destabilize State finances and will most likely lead to increases in indirect taxes to offset the huge reductions in personal and corporate tax rates. Corporate tax rates have been slashed from 28% to 20% while middle…

FSC insolvent as losses & debts accumulate

The Fiji Sugar Corporation’s 2011 operating loss shot up by $18m to $37m compared to $19m the previous year. This is revealed in the Corporation’s Annual Report released last week. Total accumulated losses stood at $123m as at 31st May….

FNPF: a bail-out fund for failed projects?

Is the FNPF being simply reduced to functioning as a cash cow for the State and a bail-out fund for failed projects? Members are extremely worried that the FNPF continues to invest in questionable hotel projects despite having lost hundreds…

Keeping Wadan Narsey in the loop …

Once and for all the Fiji Labour Party wishes to inform academic Dr. Wadan Narsey that it had no inside foreknowledge of the 2006 coup, had nothing to do with its planning or execution and had never been silent on…

Keeping Wadan Narsey in the loop …

Once and for all the Fiji Labour Party wishes to inform academic Dr. Wadan Narsey that it had no inside foreknowledge of the 2006 coup, had nothing to do with its planning or execution and had never been silent on…

Rewa Rice in financial problems

Farmers in the Muanicevo Rice Irrigation Scheme at Dreketi in Vanua Levu are complaining that Rewa Rice is no longer buying paddy from them on a regular basis because of financial problems. A number of farmers who supplied paddy to…

Malawai families without water for a week

The Dreketi Pumping Station was shut down for eight days leaving 78 families in the Malawai settlement in Vanua Levu without any water. The pumping station ran out of money to buy fuel, the residents were told, and was shut…

Celebrating Diwali: when good overcomes evil

In the Hindu tradition Diwali is symbolically associated with the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Diyas (oil lamps), candles and other lights adorn the house and its environs, dispelling the darkness of Kartika, the darkest month…

FLP’s October price survey

Fiji Labour Party’s three-monthly price survey of food and basic household items shows sharp increases in the price of meat, liquid milk and ghee but prices of other items have remained largely steady compared to the July survey (see table…

FLP opposes new FEA deposit rates

FEA should first furnish an account of all moneys collected since 1966 as security deposit before it can raise the deposit rate, says the Fiji Labour Party. Letters have been sent to the Authority as well as to the Minister…

FLP opposes new FEA deposit rates

FEA should first furnish an account of all moneys collected since 1966 as security deposit before it can raise the deposit rate, says the Fiji Labour Party. Letters have been sent to the Authority as well as to the Minister…

Union Bashing

Despite strong opposition from trade unions at home and the international community, the interim government has gone ahead with the enforcement of Decree 35 with the promulgation of Regulations that identify essential industries covered under the Decree. The National Farmers…

ILO concerned at the gravity of the Fiji situation

The International Labour Organisation has expressed “deep regret” at the Fiji government’s decision to go ahead with restrictive labour laws (Decree 35). In a strongly worded statement issued on 13 September ILO Director-General Mr Juan Somavia said it was essential…

Putting the record straight, Dr. Narsey

So, in typical fashion my good friend Dr. Wadan Narsey has availed himself of another opportunity to take a swipe at the Fiji Labour Party and me personally. It is regrettable that he chose to do so while paying tribute…

FLP writes to the President on FNPF

The Fiji Labour Party has written to HE the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to intervene in the FNPF pension dispute. The CEO of the Fund has threatened that the reduction in the rates of pensions announced recently will be made…

On trade unions and their rights…

The National Farmers Union rejects claims by the Information Ministry and the Fiji Sun that its officers are paid hefty salaries and perks from union subscriptions. “The executives of the NFU have never been paid for their services to the…

Travel ban – a violation of human rights

The move by PSC to place a travel ban on students and their guarantors who have not paid back student loans, is an inhumane, knee jerk reaction and a violation of their human rights. We refer to the front page…

Why is the media silent on the FNPF court case?

There has been a noticeable lack of information in the local media on the high-profile FNPF court case which came up for hearing on 4 July. One wonders why the media has suddenly gone so silent on the issue considering…

Excessive liquidity worries Bank

Bank of Baroda chief executive Pabitra Kumar Das is worried that a lack of borrowers and the excessive liquidity in the system will impact adversely on his bank’s performance. At Baroda’s 50th anniversary celebrations, Mr Das said (Fiji Times 6/7/11)…

Pension cuts must be opposed

The Fiji Labour Party welcomes and fully supports the legal action taken by former Human Rights Commissioner Shaista Shameem and her client David Burness against the FNPF’s arbitrary decision to cut pension rates to 9%. The Party calls on all…

Cost of living continues to rise

A quick survey of current prices for food and basic consumer goods on supermarket shelves show most items have gone up in price in the past six months, showing increases ranging from 5% to 55% (refer to table below). The…

FNPF reforms misdirected

No need to cut pensions, says Labour (Revised Paper) The Fiji Labour Party says the long term viability of the FNPF can be maintained without making cuts to the current rates of pension benefits. In a submission to the FNPF…

Internal dialogue is the way forward: Labour

The ANZ’s regional chief Michael Rowland is advocating a grand “coalition of interested countries” to begin dialogue with the Fiji regime on returning to elections and democratic rule. In an interview with Radio Australia this week, Mr Rowland argues, in…

Devaluation and Vat boost fuel prices

Consumers in Fiji would have been paying 22.5% less for fuel had the Fiji dollar not been devalued by 20% and VAT not increased to 15% from January this year. This would have meant a current fuel price of $1.94c…

Permit for Ram Naumi celebrations

The Fiji Labour Party was shocked to hear that Hindus are required to have a permit to celebrate the Hindu festival of Ram Naumi – Lord Rama’s birth. The Fiji Times reported on Thursday that Pt Mahend Sharma of the…

Sugar unions not responsible for the industry decline

Trade unions and politicians cannot be blamed for the current critical state of the sugar industry, says NFU General Secretary Mahendra Chaudhry. He was responding to statements by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama blaming the “politicisation” of the sugar industry for its…

ADB cautions Fiji on escalating debt levels

The Asian Development Bank has cautioned Fiji on its escalating debt level which stood at 58% of the GDP at February end. In its February 2011 issue of the Pacific Economic Monitor, the Bank says: “Reducing debt levels (currently nearly…

Price survey of basic consumer prices

A Fiji Labour Party survey of prices of food and basic consumer goods in the past three years show massive increases ranging from 20% to as much as 400% for some food items. These increases are registered even for food…

Labour delegation presents i-reguregu at Viseisei Village

A delegation from the Fiji Labour Party, the National Farmers Union and the Fiji Trades Union Congress presented its i-reguregu at the chiefly village of Viseisei on Saturday. The delegation of 10 included Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry and FLP’s assistant secretary-general Lekh…

Tribute to the Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilo

The Fiji Labour Party regrets the death of the former President and Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, CF, MBE, MSD, KStJ who passed away on Sunday. Ratu Josefa, 90, had a long and illustrious career first as a primary…

DPP withdraws unlawful assembly charge

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) this morning withdrew charges of unlawful assembly filed against Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry and five other FLP/NFU members last October. When the case was called in the Ra Magistrates Court this morning, the prosecutor told…

Obituary

The Fiji Labour Party mourns the death of one of its longest serving stalwarts, Satyendra, a retired senior civil servant, and former Suva City Councillor. Satyendra, 65, passed away at the CWM Hospital in Suva at 4 am today after…

Labour slams Coup 4.5 mischief

The Fiji Labour Party slams as mischievous lies a report in the Coup 4.5 blog that Mahendra Chaudhry and Felix Anthony are organising a protest march for next month. This is yet another example of baseless and malicious reporting by…

Where to in 2011?

Yet another year has ended. It is a convention, as we stand on the threshold of a new year, to take stock of the past in order to prepare for the year ahead. Four years have lapsed since the regime…

Where is our road user levy going?

Fiji’s roads have never been in such a shocking condition, says FLP’s Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi. And he has questioned why the millions collected in road user levy from motorists was not being used to fix the roads. “I have been…

The sacking of two senior DPP officials

Yet another summary dismissal of two senior lawyers from the DPP’s office raises serious concerns about the independence of that office. The sackings yesterday of deputy DPP David Toganivalu and another lawyer Ana Tuiketei signal continuing instability at the DPP’s…

HOW THE POOR FARED IN THE 2011 BUDGET

Kevin J. Barr [Note: Father Kevin Barr says each year he does a paper for the newspapers based on his analysis of the impact of the Budget on the poor. This year both the newspapers chose not to publish it….

Record Borrowing for 2010

State borrowings in 2010 run into a staggering $740 million – the highest ever in Fiji’s history. Of the total, domestic loans (from FNPF) amount to $498 million, while overseas loans add up to $242 million. The provision for debt…

Chaudhry responds to Khaiyum

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has reiterated his concern that the imposition of a 15% VAT will bring acute hardship to the poor and low and middle income families. He was replying to comments on Fiji Village by interim…

Correction

Correction to a slight error in a quote attributed to Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry in FLP’s response to the 2011 Budget regarding the 15c per litre tax imposed on Fiji Water. Mr Chaudhry said,”I wonder what process of enlightenment has…

Budget 2011

The imposition of a 15% VAT on all goods and services will have a massive impact on the already troubled Fiji economy. It is a devastating blow to the poor, and the low and medium income earners. The 20% increase,…

Reply to Coup Four Point Five trash

It seems Coup Four Point Five is trying to detract attention from its own failings and inaccuracies by reverting to Chaudhry bashing again. The blogsite is becoming quite notorious for its sensational and false reporting and we have had occasion…

Labour critiques Thakur Ranjit Singh

A piece by Thakur Ranjit Singh on Pacific Scoop, following the Auckland launch of Brij Lal’s book on Jai Ram Reddy, attempts to compare Reddy to Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry In doing so, he quotes a military analogy used by…

Labour critiques Thakur Ranjit Singh

A piece by Thakur Ranjit Singh on Pacific Scoop, following the Auckland launch of Brij Lal’s book on Jai Ram Reddy, attempts to compare Reddy to Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry In doing so, he quotes a military analogy used by…

Website issue amicably resolved

Fiji Labour Party leaders met this morning with officials of the Information Ministry to discuss the administration’s warning regarding the FLP website. Labour President Jokapeci Koroi and Leader Mahendra Chaudhry met with the Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith-Johns and…

Minfo warns FLP

The following letter was received from the Ministry for Information. We have referred it to our legal counsel for advice.

Accountability for Ministerial payrolls

Fiji Labour Party calls on the interim government to comment on the authenticity of reports that salaries of Cabinet Ministers and a legal consultant hired by the government are paid through the accounting firm of BDO (Aliz). There have been…

Awarding of $½m Rewa Dairy contract questionable

The authorities must investigate the awarding of a Rewa Dairy contract for $500,000 to a Suva accounting firm with very close connections to the Minister for Commerce, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. The contract for a restructure of the dairy company was…

Labour Leader charged

Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with alleged offences under the Penal Code, Exchange Control Act, and Proceeds of Crime Act. The substance of the matters constituting the charges were earlier…

RBF distorts data to paint a favourable picture

It has become glaringly obvious for sometime now that the monthly economic reviews of the Reserve Bank misrepresent economic data to paint a favourable picture of our ailing economy. In its June review, the RBF points to a pick up…

Labour marks its 25th anniversary

The Fiji Labour Party this month observes the 25th anniversary of its birth, marking 25 years of dynamism at the centre stage of Fiji politics.  These 25 years have been momentous – we have tasted the sweet joys of success…

The Revised Budget

The revised 2010 Budget proved to be just a housekeeping exercise to contain the Budget deficit to within 3.5% of GDP. Expenditure cuts of $75 million are to be made to attain this objective, apparently on advice from the IMF,…

Mini (Revised) Budget tomorrow

On 15 June we had warned that a mini budget was likely in July because of the precarious state of government finances. The administration has now announced that the Finance Minister will deliver a revised budget tomorrow (2 July). Why…

Fund raising for poor children in Taveuni

The Taveuni Branch of the Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha (a Hindu religious organisation) has embarked on a project to raise funds to assist poor parents pay for the education of their children. The project was announced by the Branch…

Lack of Power hampers development in Taveuni

The island of Taveuni will continue to lag behind in development and economic progress until such time as the island is ‘energised’, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. This was the sum total of views expressed to him by the business…

North bemoans rising cost of living

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry visited Savusavu and Taveuni from 4-7 June to meet with the people and inaugurate a religious function at Delaivuna in Taveuni. Commenting on his visit, Mr Chaudhry said that people in the North complained bitterly about…

10th anniversary of the 2000 coup

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 19 May 2000 coup that deposed the Labour-led People’s Coalition Government of Mahendra Chaudhry resulting in the 56-day hostage crisis in Parliament. Staged by failed businessman George Speight and the CRW soldiers, the…

May 14 – a historic date for Fiji

May 14 has special significance for Fiji – it marks the arrival of Fiji’s first Indians in 1879 on the coolie vessel Leonidas and it is also the ill-fated date of Fiji’s first coup d’etat against that community in 1987….

$84 million valuation for Natadola Resort absurd

Why is the luxurious 5-star Natadola Bay Resort being under-valued at $84 million by the Fiji National Provident Fund? In its shocking disclosure of a $301million write off on the Natadola Resort project last week, the Fund’s Chief Executive Aisake…

Natadola cat out of the bag

The Natadola scam has finally surfaced. We posted a story on the subject on our website on 2 March titled “Is our Provident Fund (FNPF) in safe hands?” At the time, the FNPF annual reports for the years 2008 and…

Shocking revelations at Poverty workshop

Almost half of our people are living in poverty. This shocking revelation was made at the recent workshop on poverty alleviation impact assessment conducted by the Poverty Eradication Unit of the government A 2007 survey had put poverty levels at…

Update on flight cancellations

Altogether 24 Fiji flights have been cancelled in the past two months as a result of poor load factor, according to the latest data available from airport sources. This includes six cancellations by V Australia and not the 17 reported…

What’s with Fiji tourism?

Poor load factor has resulted in flight cancellations to Nadi in the recent weeks. Airport sources have disclosed that V Australia cancelled about 10 Sydney-Nadi flights last month and seven so far this month. “Even at the ridiculously low $199…

Cyclone damage to cane settlements in the North

Labour Leader and NFU general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry undertook an extensive tour of cyclone stricken areas of Labasa over the week-end. He met with over 500 people in 12 different locations in the Daku, Wainikoro, Vunimoli, Bucaisau, Labasa and Wailevu…

Bleak economic outlook for 2010

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says Fiji’s economy is expected to contract in 2010. This is a correction of its previous forecast (Nov 2009) when the Bank projected a modest growth of just under 1%. In a statement on Pacific…

US 2009 Human Rights report on Fiji

The United States 2009 Human Rights Report for Fiji, just released is a highly damning document on the continuing violation and abuse of human rights by Fiji’s (military) interim administration. The 13-page report focused on the denial of the right…

FLP replies to the interim Prime Minister

The Fiji Labour Party is alive and active and will contest the 2014 general elections, contrary to claims by interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Commodore Bainimarama is reported as having told the local media that none of the politicians will…

Is our Provident Fund (FNPF) in safe hands?

What is holding up the certification of FNPF accounts and the publication of its annual reports for the years ended 30 June 2008 and 2009? The FNPF Act requires the accounts of the Fund to be audited and certified and…

Housing Authority Low Cost Housing Project

The Housing Authority (HA) is to borrow $70 million under the Chinese ‘soft’ loan scheme to fund its low cost housing project. The financing arrangement is reported to be in its final stages of negotiation. Some serious questions of accountability…

$100m loss to the sugar industry in 2009

The sugar industry faces a massive $100 million loss for the 2009 season all because of FSC’s failure to efficiently convert cane to sugar at its ailing mills. Of this, loss to cane farmers will be a staggering $70 million…

Labour government and Fijian education

The Labour govt. was fully cognisant of the special needs of indigenous education but had a different approach to that of other governments. The FLP said in reply to an editorial comment (21/1/10) titled “Welcome Revolution” in the Fiji Times….

Labour government and Fijian education

The Labour govt. was fully cognisant of the special needs of indigenous education but had a different approach to that of other governments. The FLP said in reply to an editorial comment (21/1/10) titled “Welcome Revolution” in the Fiji Times….

Labour government and Fijian education

The Labour govt. was fully cognisant of the special needs of indigenous education but had a different approach to that of other governments. The FLP said in reply to an editorial comment (21/1/10) titled “Welcome Revolution” in the Fiji Times….

Labour Leader at the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has just returned from participating at the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an annual convention of People of Indian Origin worldwide, held in New Delhi this year. The three-day event is sponsored by the Government of India…

The sacking of the magistrates

Fiji Labour Party views with deep concern the sacking of three magistrates without any explanations given for their removal from office. According to media reports neither the President’s office nor the interim Attorney General is willing to explain why the…

Mrs Koya: a woman of fortitude

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry expresses his deepest condolences at the passing away of Mrs Amina Koya. She will always be remembered with honour and respect as the wife of the late Mr Siddiq Koya, former Leader of the…

2010 as we see it

Unfortunately, the grim prospects facing us in the New Year will bring no joy to the hearts of our people. From all corners – political, economic and social- the tidings are depressing and frustrating, to say the least. Fiji’s economy…

Interim Government must assist Cyclone Mick victims

(FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry (2nd left) pictured in Naitata,Navua with cyclone victim Ram Samuj (left) and Hira Lal and Bimal Prasad to his right) FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has been out meeting with people in Navua, Nausori and Tailevu/Naitasiri areas…

Cyclone Mick: Agriculture Sector hit hardest

The farming community has been most hard hit by the ravage caused by Cyclone Mick and the Fiji Labour Party has called for a State rehabilitation programme to begin the recovery process. “A preliminary survey in the Western and Central…

RBF way off the mark on inflation

The Reserve Bank of is way off the mark in its inflation forecasts which is likely to be running closer to an unprecedented high of 15.2% and not the RBF-claimed 7%. Likewise, to claim that devaluation of the Fiji dollar…

Budget 2010: Luxury oriented

Fiji’s economy cannot be rebuilt on the back of political instability, violation of human rights and repressive measures under the Public Emergency Regulations, says the Fiji Labour Party. “You must first of all secure confidence in the future of the…

Budget 2010: Luxury oriented

Fiji’s economy cannot be rebuilt on the back of political instability, violation of human rights and repressive measures under the Public Emergency Regulations, says the Fiji Labour Party. “You must first of all secure confidence in the future of the…

IMF on the wrong foot on FNPF annuity rates

The visiting IMF Mission team’s recommendation to reduce FNPF’s annuity benefits is unfortunate and appears to have been made without a full understanding of all relevant facts. In its concluding statement, the team recommends that the Fund be made actuarially…

IMF on the wrong foot on FNPF annuity rates

The visiting IMF Mission team’s recommendation to reduce FNPF’s annuity benefits is unfortunate and appears to have been made without a full understanding of all relevant facts. In its concluding statement, the team recommends that the Fund be made actuarially…

Removal of price control will hit poor hard

The interim government is definitely ill-advised on its decision to remove price controls from 146 basic consumer items. “It is a shocking and irresponsible move which will hit directly at the stomachs of the poor at a time of galloping…

Removal of price control will hit poor hard

The interim government is definitely ill-advised on its decision to remove price controls from 146 basic consumer items. “It is a shocking and irresponsible move which will hit directly at the stomachs of the poor at a time of galloping…